Monday, August 4, 2014

Looking For A Good Time? Why Adult Play Is Important

Why don't we have recess as an adult? Let's change that!

When was the last time you played your favorite sport, hit the tetherball, enjoyed a long bike ride or danced to some of your favorite tunes during the work week? When was the last time you took an hour or two to do something you enjoy during the work week? Have you thought about picking up a new hobby and engaging in it during the work week? Play is not just for the weekends nor is it just for kids. Maybe you are sitting there thinking, "I don't have time, " or perhaps guilt instantly sinks in. What about work, paying bills, spending enough time with your family, or friends, and sleep? Don't over think it, it should come natural and your body needs it.


Having a good time is not just child's play. Typically play is considered a treat, a desired pastime for adults, but it is much more. Adult play is a necessity. Our bodies and minds require it. Research shows that active adults live longer, have happier lives and are more healthy. There are both physical and psychological benefits to playing around as an adult. Here is a list of benefits adults receive when they take the time to play around: "heal resentment and emotional wounds, an antidote to loneliness and depression, foster perseverance and learning, improve the quality of our relationships, and makes us joyous and happy."

What types of play are there for adults? Many! Here are some examples...

Game Face- working out a good sweat at the gym, hitting some golf balls on the course or playing hoops on the court; these are great ways to play around. Whether you by yourself or with some friends, you are taking much needed time to break away from the norm. Playing just 30 minutes of a sport can improve your quality of sleep. Sweet dreams!

You don't have to look good or score, just enjoy yourself.

Work It- Playing foosball, shooting pool and mastering Zynga are all ways companies are getting on board with playtime at work. I have the luxury of working on a university campus where I can walk outside anytime and find a group of students, and often faculty throwing the frisbee, playing cards, joking around or engaged in some type of play. It's completely refreshing and something I try not to take for granted.  Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute of Play explains, "There is good evidence that if you allow employees to engage in something that they want to do which is playful, there are better outcomes in terms of productivity and motivation." 

Google has it going on. This is their work and play environment,

You've Got Talent- Working on your car, camping outdoors, and playing video games; all these activities stimulate your mind and keep you active. Play doesn't have to revolve around sports. Involving yourself in a hobby of interest increases your self confidence, positive thinking and creativityCarol Kauffman, an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School explains, “when you’re really engaged in a hobby you love, you lose your sense of time and enter what’s called a flow state, and that restores your mind and energy.” EVERYONE has a talent, an interest in a hobby. Can't think of one, here you go!  An alphabetical  list of hobbies out there, some of which I did not even know existed!  Let it flow: from collecting action figures to wingsuit flying, you will find one that fits your own playful personality.

Even Andy had a hobby!

The Art of Play: Visiting a museum, painting on canvas, dancing to your favorite music, these are all considered playing as well! There are different branches of arts, but commonly they are defined as painting, sculpture, literature and dance. The arts offer us a way to express ourselves and experience how others express themselves.   They are incredibly important to our world, especially for adults because "they are languages that all people speak that cut across racial, cultural, social, educational and economic barriers and enhance appreciation and awareness." Interested in learning more about our talented local artists? Check out Kansas City Artists Coalition.  Would you rather listen and dance to some incredible music rather than make your own? Get on your dancing shoes and click on NightlifeKC's website for listings of all types of bands.

You may want to practice your dance moves first before playing them out in front of others.
Get it On- playing house, doctor, and dress-up, making out and feeling love's first kiss; all ways many of us played as a child and into teenage years. Playing around with your lover is, well, play! Spending quality time exploring and enjoying your mate will reap you many health benefits as an adult. According to Andrea Demirjian, author of the "kissing book" (Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About One of Life's Sweetest Pleasures), explains smooching can reduce blood pressure, zap headaches, boost self-esteem and amp up happy hormones. There are many more benefits to being intimate, I'm sure you can figure them out. 

Gustav Klimt, "The Kiss" (1907), this piece of art is still getting action today for obvious reasons.

There you have it. No more guilt, just make a point to schedule it in or be spontaneous about playing around. No rules, except to have good time.

 "You an discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."  (Plato)
Next time you engage in adult play, discover something interesting about whomever you are playing with, more importantly, discover something about yourself.

Poison has had this figured out for awhile...

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